Keywords: Sovereign Debt Crisis; Economic Adjustment Programmes; Conditionality; Austerity Measures; Social Sovereignty; Fundamental Social Rights.
With this article the two authors maintain that the judgment of the Portuguese Constitutional
Court, delivered on April, 5th 2013, marks a very important step in the dialogue between EU Member
States' national authorities and European and international institutions concerning the protection
of fundamental social rights in the context of the sovereign debt crisis. Although the judgment
does not jeopardize the functioning of the EU and international law instruments constituting the
Economic Adjustment Program negotiated by Portugal with the "trojka" - the European Commission,
the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -, it sets some crucial limits
to the way social rights protected by the Portuguese Constitution can be touched and establishes
the framework within which the balance between measures adopted to ensure economic adjustment
and core constitutional principles has to be struck. Thus, even if the judgment cannot be considered
as a Copernican Revolution, it constitutes an essential paradigm for the understanding of
the emerging role of Constitutional Courts in the protection of social sovereignty from obligations
assumed under international (primarily) and EU (secondarily) law.